Left home in PA with my car and dolly to pick up a 1998 e350 corbeil srw in Erwin North Carolina. Found it on Craigslist. The owner sent me pictures of the rust situation and after a couple of days we made the decision to drive out and take it unless something was seriously wrong.
Left at 6PM. We have a station wagon and I was able to get a bed in there.
Drove 2 Hrs, napped 2 hrs, drove again 4H, napped again. Arrived the next day around 11 in Erwin, NC. Bus looked good but after more careful inspection showed a big rust hole under the drivers feet. The body and frame at the body mounts was all good so I figured it would only take some sheet metal to make it like new. Could not find other rust worth mentioning for a 17 yr old vehicle. Chassis looked perfect, Corbeil must have used galvanized steel, not even the seat bolts were rusted.
I had made a bumper hitch and bracket to reinforce the bumper. Installed that, connected the wiring and settled the financial business. The owner was a real nice to guy to deal with even had some bones for my dog. Used some yellow duct tape to modify school bus and cool bus to fend the cops off and removed the guard at the front bumper. Did not want to cut the wires from the lights in the stop sign and let it be. Driving most of it by night anyhow
My mercedes 300td had gotten 25 mpg with the dolly. I was curious what the powerstroke would get hauling it all back.
Left around 4PM and stopped at a rest area 1 hr later to catch up on sleep.
When I woke up it was getting colder and decided to look at the heat in the bus. Two valves next to the radiator were closed and decided to open those. I assumed they must have been closed for a reason and indeed something started dripping. The steel coolant lines to the rear of the bus were corroded thru at one of the clips. Closed the valves. Caught the leaking coolant in a XL coffee cup and took a hacksaw to cut the bad section out. The hoses to the rear heater were long enough and reconnected the whole thing. It got dark but good enough had a head flashlight, best invention ever. Second try, still leaking, the hoses at the ends were in poor shape. Shortened those as well. Had it idle for a while and purge air and there was some heat in the rear, front still out. I knew from my other econolines that the heater flap gets damaged, poor design, and left. Wanted to make some miles. Lost a cup of coolant, cleaned up the mess I made in the parking lot so some animal would not lap it up.
The rear heat was not enough to keep it comfortable. At the next nap the dog provided heat. The other driving I did with the sleeping bag around me.
Two Waffle houses and one MCD later and back during daylight, the sun shining all was cool again. Made it home around 3PM.
Wife excited, kids, 4 and 9 very excited. Life is good.
About 14 mpg mostly 50 to 55 Mph. It has 4.10 in the rear axle.
The next day my wife and I took some of the seats and front compartment "fence" out. Amazing the fastener were easy. Wife on the inside with a cordless impact and me under with wrench holding the nuts. Did I mention no rust. Love it. We made a booth seating directly behind the driver by using a seat from the opposite side. This is convertible as bed for either of the kids. Removed the closing and locking system from the entry door. I am planning on using a similar system as is used on the exit door with the clever use of a dead lock that I found on this forum,
.... Thank you....
Going to make a fridge cabinet at the third window behind the driver.
I have a swivel seat from my old ambulance camper van conversion that is going to the first window behind the entry doors.
The second and third window behind the entry door is the kitchen. The last two windows at both sides are for the our bed. No bathroom or shower planned. I need one more bed. In the old ambulance we had a hammock above the drivers seat where the 9 year old was sleeping. In this case that is not that convenient with the entry doors. I can gain some space by removing the electric cabinet above the driver and some diagonal construction?
We will call her "Elf bus"